A pair of local animation firms have joined forces with The Well to support a program focused on bringing music and daily creative, calming prompts to dozens of schools and classrooms in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.
Camp Washington-based The Well provides programs and practices at the intersection of arts and wellness. Programs include Mindful Poetry Moments, True Body Project and a new youth curriculum My True SELF.
The nonprofit is partnering with Pixel Fiction and Lightborne to support another of its programs, Mindful Music Moments.
Mindful Music Moments combines creative prompts with three minutes of orchestral, jazz, world and new music into 40 weeks of daily audio and video journeys for schools to play over during daily announcements and in classrooms.
The Well offers Mindful Music Moments to 320 schools and other educational organizations serving kids between pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, including more than 50 in the Greater Cincinnati region. The program reaches more than 135,000 students daily.
Adding to the programming is a new mascot called Mel O. Dee. Pixel Fiction partnered with Kattspaw Audio to create it.
Scott Thierauf, co-owner of Pixel Fiction, said bringing the character to life was made easier by starting with The Well’s “fun logo design” that had the character already built in.
The end result was an energetic, childlike character that bounds around with seemingly endless energy, then slowly calms to ease the viewers into Mindful Music Moments, Thierauf said.
“The goal was to show a fun, encapsulated version of what a child might experience at the beginning of their day,” he added.
To take Mindful Music Moment elements to the next level, Lightborne’s creative team developed audio responsive designs that animate to the daily music selections.
The goal was to craft what Lightborne President Scott Durban described as “bespoke audio reactive visuals that enhance and deepen the Mindful Music Moments program.”
The overall results of both projects are “delightful and compelling to students,” according to Bryce Kessler, The Well’s director of music and arts programs.
“We heard from a lot of our teachers that students need support in focusing their attention. As a small nonprofit, we needed to find a dynamic, cost- and time-effective way to create daily video content in addition to daily audio content for all 300 schools and national partnerships we serve,” he said.
Kessler stressed the importance of learning directly from its school partners, such as Parker Woods Montessori in Northside, to support innovation in an “ever-changing environment.”
One of those educators is Myesha Jewell, a preschool and kindergarten teacher at Parker Woods. She’s used the audio version of Mindful Music for the last several years. The new animated content allows students to “listen to Mindful Music all throughout our school day,” Jewell said.
“This year, I feel like the kids can see the visuals and calm their breathing to match the visuals,” she added.